Sleek. Very thin bezel-free design. HDR-capable. USB-C connectivity. Good color, grayscale, and viewing-angle performance.
Expensive. Noticeable screen tearing. Limited video inputs. No speakers.
- Bottom Line
Though a bit short on features, the 27-inch Dell S2718D is a strikingly thin In-Plane Switching (IPS) monitor that delivers accurate colors, solid grayscale reproduction, and wide viewing angles.
Billed as the thinnest monitor in its class, the $529.99 Dell 27 Ultrathin Monitor (S2718D) offers exceptional looks, solid color and grayscale performance, and USB-C connectivity in a cabinet that is thinner than most tablets. It uses Dell's own version of HDR10 technology to deliver a brightly lit picture with deep blacks, but it only has one dedicated video input and is prone to motion artifacts. For around $120 more, our top pick for midrange, big-screen monitors, the BenQ SW2700PT, offers superior performance, plenty of I/O ports, and advanced image settings. But if design is high on your priority list, and you want the thinnest display you can find, it's worth a look.
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Design and Features
Measuring less than one-third-of-an-inch thick and coupled with Dell's InfinityEdge bezel-free design, the S2718D is one slick-looking monitor. The silver cabinet is perched upon a thin, curved metal arm with a hinge that offers tilt and swivel adjustments, but no height or pivot adjustability. It's attached to a small, rectangular base that holds the display's limited I/O ports around back, including a single HMDI 2.0 port, one USB-C port, two downstream USB 3.0 ports, and an audio output jack; the S2718D does not have any speakers. The top front of the base has a power button and four function buttons for accessing and navigating the settings menus.
The S2718D uses a 27-inch In-Plane Switching (IPS) panel and has a WQHD (2,560-by-1,440) resolution, a 16:9 aspect ratio, a 60Hz refresh rate, a 300 cd/m2 peak brightness, a 1,000:1 contrast ratio, and a 6-millisecond (gray-to-gray) pixel response. It covers 99 percent of the sRGB color gamut and uses Dell's High Dynamic Range (HDR) technology, called HDR10, to deliver robust colors, inky blacks, and bright whites. The panel has a glossy coating that can be reflective in certain lighting conditions.
You don't get any advanced settings with the S2718D. In addition to Brightness and Contrast, there are 10 color presets: Standard, ComfortView (low blue light), Multimedia, Movie, Movie HDR, Game, Game HDR, Warm, Cool, and Custom. You can adjust Hue and Saturation settings, but they are only available using the Game and Movie presets. Other settings include Sharpness, Dynamic Contrast Ratio, Aspect Ratio, and Response Time (Normal or Fast). By way of comparison, the BenQ SW2700PT offers advanced six-color settings, Black Level settings, and two calibration presets.
The display comes with a three-year warranty on parts, labor, and backlight. Inside the box are USB-C and HDMI cables, a resource CD, and a Quick Start guide.
The S2718D produced mostly accurate colors in our tests. As shown on the chromaticity chart below, red, green, and blue colors (represented by the colored dots) are fairly close to their ideal CIE coordinates (represented by the boxes). Granted, the colors are not as precise as those of the BenQ SW2700PT, but they are more accurate than what we saw with AOC's Agon AG271QX, especially when it comes to green color measurements.
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Grayscale performance was also solid in our tests. The IPS panel had no trouble displaying every shade of gray from the DisplayMate 64-Step Grayscale test, and it delivered good shadow and highlight detail in my test images. I watched an episode of Daredevil in HDR on Netflix and was impressed with the clarity and overall brightness of the picture, and it maintained very dark blacks. Colors appeared sharp and well saturated, and they stayed that way when viewed from an extreme angle. However, screen tearing was significant here, and while running my Crysis 3 (PC) and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare (Sony PlayStation 4) gaming tests.
The panel's 6-millisecond pixel response kept motion chop at bay, but there was still a bit of blur and some minor ghosting artifacts. Input lag was relatively short at 9.9 milliseconds, as measured with a Leo Bodnar Video Signal Lag Tester. The BenQ SW2700PT is still our leader, with a 9.5-millisecond lag.
The S2718D consumed 24 watts of power while operating in the Standard preset mode (it does not offer an ECO power-saving mode). That's more energy efficient than the AOG AG271QX (35 watts), the ViewSonic XG2700-4K (35 watts), and the LG 27UD88-W (27 watts).
With its super-slim cabinet, stylish curved metal stand, and bezel-free design, the Dell S2718D is easily one of the best-looking monitors we've seen. It's also a solid performer that delivers mostly accurate colors, good grayscale performance, and wide viewing angles. Movies look gorgeous on this display, thanks to Dell's HDR10 technology, but because the panel produces noticeable screen tearing and other motion artifacts, gamers should look elsewhere. Moreover, a few more features, such as a DisplayPort video input or speakers, would be welcome. If you require more inputs and more control over your picture settings, check out our Editors' Choice for midrange, big-screen monitors, the BenQ SW2700PT. Though not nearly as attractive as the S2817D, it's a better all-around performer.
By John R. Delaney Contributing Editor
As a Contributing Editor for PCMag, John Delaney has been testing and reviewing monitors, TVs, PCs, networking and smart home gear, and other assorted hardware and peripherals for almost 20 years. A 13-year veteran of PC Magazine's Labs (most recently as Director of Operations), John was responsible for the recruitment, training and management of the Labs technical staff, as well as evaluating and maintaining the integrity of the Labs testing machines and procedures. Prior to joining Ziff Davis, John spent six years in retail operations for… More »
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